Routledge Handbook of Peacebuilding

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-03-07
  • Publisher: Routledge

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This new Routledge Handbook offers a comprehensive, state-of-the-art overview of the meanings and uses of the term '¨‹peacebuilding'¨", and presents leading-edge debates on the practices conducted in the name of peacebuilding. The term '¨‹peacebuilding'¨" has had remarkable staying power. Other terms, such as '¨‹conflict resolution'¨" have waned in popularity, while the acceptance and use of the term '¨‹peacebuilding'¨" has grown to the extent that it is the hegemonic and over-arching term for many forms of mediation, reconciliation and strategies to induce peace. The term is accepted and widely used by politicians, policymakers, academics and journalists. Yet despite the term being embedded into a series of discourses, it is rarely defined and often used to mean different things to different audiences. The Handbook of Peacebuilding aims to be both a one-stop comprehensive resource on the literature and issues pertaining to contemporary peacebuilding, a summary of key debates, and a site for leading authors to showcase their latest thinking. The focus of the book will primarily be on civil war and deeply divided contexts in the contemporary era. Given that these contexts are internationalised (through globalisation and international attempts to manage conflicts), the book will examine the international structures that shape peacebuilding contexts and international peacebuilding strategies. The book attempts to deal with two issues that have affected the study and practice of '¨‹peacebuilding'¨" in recent years. First, the category of peacebuilding has become ever expanding, and the number of issues that are routinely placed in the peacebuilding '¨‹box'¨" has grown. In part, this reflects the looseness of terminology, but also more profound trends such as the securitisation of many issues affecting the promotion and maintenance of peace. The book will redress this by offering definitional and discursive clarity on key issues, and chapters on the interpretations of peacebuilding. Second, recent years have witnessed the further crystallisation of two opposing approaches to the practice and study of peacebuilding. The orthodox, or problem-solving, approach tends to take conflicts at face value and seeks to minister to the manifestations of conflict. The 'critical' approach, which has a long heritage in peace studies, is unconvinced by the efficacy of dealing with the manifestations of conflict without commensurate attempts to deal with underlying and structural causes of conflict. Orthodox problem-solving scholars would counter that they inhabit the world of the possible and that they cannot put human suffering on hold until more thorny issues are solved. Problem-solving and critical scholars and practitioners often operate in isolation from one another. This volume contain contributions from both critical and problem-solving scholars, and the reader will be able to judge the merits of each approach (or of compromise positions). The decision to devote one section of the book to conceptual issues will mark the book out from many other works on peacebuilding. The purpose of the conceptual section is to encourage readers to think of how peacebuilding is read, interpreted, packaged, consumed and reproduced. Discussion of the discursive framing of peacebuilding will alert readers to the need to tread carefully in relation to peacebuilding and to question many of the assumptions upon which peacebuilding policy and practice is based. This new Handbook will be essential reading for students of Peacebuilding, Mediation and Post-Conflict Reconstruction, and of great interest to students of statebuilding, intervention, civil wars, conflict resolution, war and conflict studies and IR in general.

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